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Full text of "Life, Crimes, and Confession of Bridget Durgan"

LIFE AND CRIMES 



OF 



BRIDGET DURGAN, 




i Poor Mr.. Coriel beggms Uer niurdei«. to allQW l«r to klM tbe baby betore ibe killed ter.-»»T«rf«. 



<^ 



::, ALSO BRIDGET'S FULL CONFESSION ^ 

;|- A1V)UT nEn, ALLEGED INTIMACY WITH DR. CORIEL: | 



.., By Rev. Mr. BREISDAN. 

^i , t 

m c. W. ALEXANDER, PuBUsaKa, 224 SotTii Thihd St., Philadelphla. J^ 




V^'jnts wanted f.>r oar ne.T l{;>o:; ij Eajlisli, German and Frencli. 






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LIFE, CRIMES, AND CONFESSION 



OP 



BRIDGET DURGAN, 



THE FIENDISH MtTRDERESS OF MRS. CORIEL ; 

WHOM SHE BUTCHERED, HOPING TO TAKE HER PLACE 

IN THE AFFECTIONS OP THE HUSBAND OF HER 

INNOCENT AND LOVELY VICTIM. 



.^•- 



THE ONLY AUTHENTIC, AND HITHERTO UNPUBLISHED 



HISTORY OF HER WHOLE LIFE; AND THE HIDEOUS CRIME 
fcX)R WHICH SHE WAS EXECUTED AT NEW BRUNSWICK, N. /. 



BY REV. MR. BRENDAN. 



PHILADELPHIA. 

C W. ALEXANDER, PUBLISHER. 

224 South Third Street. 



fettered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1867, by C. W. ALEXANDER, 

fn the Clerk'e Offic« Bf the Diftriot Court in and for thv Bastern DiEtriot Of 

PennsylTaniat 



T^^mr 




"For the love of God, Bridget!" pleaded poor Mrs. Codel, "let me kis= 
my baby before you kill me! please dol" 



BKIDGET .DUEGAN'S 

LIFE, co^^FESSIO^r, and execution. 



Throughout all the annals of crime, there bas never been recorded a 
more revolting, wicked deed, than that for which the wretched perpetra- 
tor, Bridget Durgan, paid the forfeit of her life in the jail yard at New 
Brunswick, New Jersey, on August 30, 1867. 

Sometime during the year 186G, Bridget Durgan applied at the door of 
Mrs. Coriel, in the villajje of New Market, on the Central rail road, only 
a short distance west of Plainfleld, New Jersey, for a situation. At first 
so forbidding was her appearance, that Mrs. Coriel would have nothing 
to say to her, and did not wish to have anything to do with her. But, 
so persevering was Bridget, and she told such a pitiful tale, that Mrs. 
Coriel, who, beside being possessed of the greatest beauty^ had a tender 
and noble heart, beg&n to relent, and she finally admitted the girl to her 
household as a servant. Alas ! how little did the unfortunate lady dream 
that the fiend she was thus befriending, would, in less than one short 
year become her brutal murderess. 

Month rolled on after month; and, notwithstanding her natural good- 
ness of heart, Mrs. Coriel could not, at times, repress the loathing she 
had for Bridget. This feeling increased to such a degree, that she told 
Bridget that she could not have her in.lhe house any longer, and ordered 
her to leave at the end of that month and get another place. 

This roused the smouldering embers of wickedness to raging flames 
within the breast of the demon girl; and she resolved to kill her kind and 
indulgent mistress at the ,first opportunity that she could do so without 
danger of discovery. 

The time for her stay at Dr. Coriel's becoming short, and as yet not 
presenting the coveted chance for the accomplishment of her hellish de- 
sign, Bridget feigned a sudden illness, and begged most piteously not to 
be sent away. 

la 



20 BRIDGET DURGAN's UPB AND CRIMES. 

Again Mrs. Coriel's kind heart gave way, and, on conferring with her 
husband, the doctor, who .was just a3 tender in his disposition as his wife, 
it was agreed to allow Bridget to remain until she was well; especially 
as the winter was now come on, and their servant might suffer if she 
were discharged then. 

At last the long-desired opportunity came for the object of the murder- 
ess. On the night of February 25 th Dr. Coriel was suddenly called out 
to attend a patient, and would not lilsely be at home for sometime. Mrs. 
Coriel had been unwell all day, and she laid down on a sofa in the sit- 
ting room to see if the rest would not make her feel better. Previouslr 
however, she hushed her babe — little Mamey — to sleep, and placed her 
softly and gently in the crib with a fond kiss. 
^ Now then was the wicked creature's time. Stealthily she stole into 
the room, a lamp in one hand, and t huge butcher knife in the other. 
While she kept the weapon hidden behind her, she set the lamp down, 
and then sprung upon her victim with the ferocity of a panther. Several 
times she plunged the deadly blade into her victim's breast and shoulders-* 
before the latter could spring np and grapple with her. 

Then came that fearful struggle; and the two rolled over the floor, til], 
getting herself loose, Mrs. Coriel sprang up, and attempted to reach the 
crib in the bedroom to rescue her infant and then escape from the house 
for help. But Bridget was a stout, powerful woman; and, prompted by 
the Devil and fear of discovery, she bounded after her victim, dashed her 
on the bed, and, as she lay there with clasped hands, pleading for her 
life, she stabbed her again and again, till she thought she was dead; and 
then flung her on the floor, and proceeded to the rest of her diabolical 
work. Running back into the adjoining room, she seized the lamp— filled 
with coal oil— and, rushing into the apartment where her victim lay, she 
pitched it in under the bed, then threw in the bed clothes on the flames, 
snatched np the baby out of the crib, and started for the nearest bouse, 
intending to give an alarm that robbers had broken into the house, and i 
murdered Mrs. Coriel. 

During this time the victioi, whose life blood was gushing from so i 
many different wound.^ had recovered her consciousness; and, with a 
superhuman effort, she started slowly, half crawling and creeping along, : 
m pursuit of Bridget, whom she thus saw carrying off her darling child. 

What agonizing thoughts passed through her mind at that moment, of 
course no human being will ever know; but her anguish must have been 
worse than death itself; for she doubtless believed that the fiendish wo- 
man intended to murder the babe as well as its mother. 

Bridget had run hut a short distance from the garden gate np the road, 
when the thought occurred to go back to the house and see for certain, 
whether her victim was quite really dead. Quickly she retraced bef I 



"I 



T!* 



BBIDOBT OURaAM'S LIFE AND CRIMES. 21 

steps, and there, just crawling out into the yard, she found poor Mrs. 
C oriel. 

With a fierce oath, she ordered her victim to go baclt into the house, 
carrying the child in advance, and picking up the kuife in a threatening 
manner. The dying woman turned her eyes upward to the fiend, in si- 
lent supplication, and then, with what little expiring strength she had left 
crawled slowly after Bridget into the house; still intent on saving her ba- 
by, which now being awake, held out its tiny hands toward her, and 
chuckled in its innocent way for her to take it. 

When Bridget got iflto the bed room again, she set the child down on 
the floor, and, going outside, seized her victim, dragged her quickly into 
the room, and said : 

"Now I'll make su.re av yees! and I'll have yer hoosband, an' be hes 
mesthress and me own! 

She then took up the leg of a chair, that had been broken in the previ. 
ous struggle, and deliberately snapping off a fragment of the runnel that 
remained attached to it, she advanced, and raised the improvised club to 
crush in the scull of her victim. 

The doomed mother, with an unnatural strength, that was lent her by 
her agony, exclaimed, in a weak, gasping voice: 

"Oh! Bridget! for the love of God and the virgin, don't kill Mamey! 
and please let me kiss her before you kill me!" 

" Well" coolly replied the horrid murderess, " be queck about it now, 
and I'll let yees!" 

Slowly the poor, dying mother crawled to the side of Mamey, the child 
ftnd kissed her, oh how fondly, how tenderiy, for the last time'on earth. 

Had there been one spark of womanhood in Bridget Durgan, she sure- 
ly could not, blood-stained as she was, have inflicted further injury upon 
her victim. But, wilh a hideous malignity of heart, she took hold of Mrs. 
Coriel's dress, dragged her back from the baby, and battered her head in 
with the chair leg. Nor did she cease her blows until her victim was 
perfectly dead. 

Once more Bridget Durgan, the foul murderess, with a further design 
in her vile heart, took up Mamey, went out, shut the bed room door, so 
that the fire, already blazing, might be sure to consume the mutilated 
corpse of her former mistress; and then, passing out to the road, hurried 
to the house of of Isaac Coriel. This gentleman was a relative by mar- 
riage, of Mrs. Coriel. 

Here she knocked loudly, and soon roused up the inmates; who, when 
they heard her frightful story about the robbers, turned out and alarmed 
the whole village. The neighbors instantly ran to Dr. Coriel's house, 
and got there just in time to extinguish the fire, and rescoe the body of 
Mrs, Coriel from the devouring flames. 



4§ BRIDGET DTJRQAN's LIFE AND CRIMES. 

Several persons, who were more collected than the rest, at once began 
to investigate the matter, and, instead of crediting Bridget's terrible tale, 
they were speedily convinced that she, herself was the guilty wretch. 
They arrested her; and she was dnely tried, convicted, and hung in New 
Brunswick, New Jersey, on August 30 1867. 

During her imprisonment, Bridget pretended to make three or four dif- 
ferent confessions to different persons. But they were all such a mixture 
of truth and lies, that they could not be depended on at all. The reason 
she thus prevricated was that because she thought by some means or 
_ other to enlist the sympathy of these persons, and obtain through them a 
i/ardon or at least a respite. She kept this up almost till the very morn- 
ing of her.execution. But when she found there was no hope at all for 
escape from the doom affixed to her crime, she gave into the possession 
of a christian gentleman a full confession of her crimes, and a history of 
her life, which have been unpublished until now. 

She could read and write very well, instead of being ignorant, as has 
been represented; and she implored the reverend gentleman to publish 
her life after altering and correcting the manuscript, as a warning to all 
young persons, against allowing themselves to fall into the ways and the 
habits that caused her ruin and brought her to such a fearful punishment. 
We give it in full just as wo received it. 

BRIDGET'S EARLY LIFE. 

In my prison cell in the town of New Brunswick, I am sitting all alone 
tonight. Alone, did I say? no! no! not alone! Not alone! for all round 
me flit spectres of darkness and woe. They shake their shadowy fingers 
in my face, and whisper to me that there is no reprieve! no pardon? I 
must be hung tomorrow. Hung! It must be an awful death to be hung! 
To have a rope put round my neck, to be choked, and have my neck bro- 
ken, and then dangle down there in the prison yard like an old cat That 
is dreadful to be hung that way! But I do not believe there is any 
chance for my escape. Everybody is very bitter against me; especiallv 
these Jersey people. It makes no difference to them that I am a woman 
They are very hard-natured folks. But there is no use in my feelin- a 
bit angry at them. No! for I will be hung certain, and it will make me 
feel better if I make a true confession. T will write it out now, and give 
It to Mr. Brendan; as he is the only one I think anything of at all I am 
not friendly to these newspaper fellows; for they set evervbc/dy down on 
me I will give this to Mr. Brendan before I leave this cell to go to the 
gallows down in the yard tomorrow. 

Now, dear Mr. Brendan, with my dying, solemn voice I will write it 
down as I cannot speak it, that all the other confessions I bavl made 
were false. People used to bother me so that I would tell them every 



■■BBIHPPiSR 



BEIDGET DURGAN'S LIFE AND CHIMES. 23 

tbing that came into my head, just for the fun of it. But I am past all 
that now, and what I am going to write about my miserable life and my 
crimes is true every whit And, with my last breath I will ask you to 
publish it to the world, and show young people the danger of going into 
wrong ways in their youth. 

I was born in the village of Duncliffe, County Sligo, Ireland, in 1843; 
and was raised in pretty good circumstances, at least for the station in 
life occupied by my family. My childhood, up to twelve years of age, 
was passed in my native village of Duncliffe; and then it was resolved by 
my father and mother, to put me out to service in the household of a gen- 
tleman, who lived close by. There I continued to live for about three 
years; when a circumstance occured, that shaped my after life in the chan- 
nel which has lead me now to the disgrace of dying on the gallows. 

There was a May day party given, and as I was taken along with the 
family to help to wait on them, I was thus thrown into the company of 
James, the son of my employer. He had always been very attentive to 
me, but on this day he was particularly so; and before the close of the ex- 
cursion he invited me to take a stroll with him into a piece of woodland 
near by. He was so kind and merry, that I soon forgot all else than the 
pleasure of being with him. 

But there is no need to repeat a tale so common, and so often heard. 
Afterwards when I found what had become of me, I resolved to leave 
Ireland and come to America, where 1 would be known by nobody. As 
may be supposed, I was furnished with money to come out here by par- 
ties, who were only too glad to be rid of mo at so small an expense. 
In the regular time I arrived here and hired myself out to do housework. 
But, after I had been at my place for a few months, my mistress, making 
a discovery, would not keep me any longer; but turned me out of the 
house. Prom that moment I began to hate everybodv; but most of all 
mistresess; and I resolved to kill some one if tfa« chance only came in mr 
way. ^ 

I wandered about tni at last I got into a shelter. Some weeks after 
that I was free on account of getting rid of my incumberance. This was 
in New York; and one day as I was walking along the street I met a 
woman named Ellen Gilroy, who spoke to me and asked me if'l were not 
in trouble. I told her that I was. and then she said she had seen me one " 
day up at the asylum where I had been, and where she had also been do- 
ing some cleaning. 

" What do yon expect to do now? asked she. 

" I don't know," said I, but I'd do most anything to get along." 

"You don't mean to work, do you?" says she. 

"Yes," says I, "I want to find a place. '"^ 

"Why, that's all nonsensel What's the use of your going to work 
u'hen you'd be turned out in a day or two, or jest soon as you are found 



2* BRIDGET DUKOAN'S LIFK AND CBIMML 

out. You come witb nic, and I'll show you how to git alon? without 
that! " 

I did not care what I did; nor what became of me; and away I went 
with Ellen G.Iroy She took me to a tenement house in the lowest part 
of the city, and there I stayed for about three months, doing just as she 
and the rest of the women there did. 

One night the police came down to the house about twelve o' clock at 
night to arrest one of ns for robbing a man. Being fearful that they in- 
tended to take me, I jumped out of the second story back window got into 
an alley that ran behind a fence, and escaped, although the police were 
standing all' around the house. I walked about the street the whole of 
that night, and in the morning went over to Brooklyn. There I made a 
resolution to do better, and get a place if I conld. At last I made a bat 
gain with a woman who sold fish, to help her for two dollars a week 
- I behaved very well for sometime, and finally got into Mr. Dolan's 
fttoily to do the housework. There I lived about three months when I 
left and took service with a Mrs. Horning. She and I did not agree very 
well, and one day she ordered me to leave; and called me a devilish in- ^ 
fernal slut. This roused my blood, and I went up to my room, with 'the 
full determination to kill both her and her sister, who had also treated 
me badly. 

So, after I had packed up what things I wanted to take with me I 
went down to the kitchen, and got a large carving knife, which I shirp- 
end on a sand stone. I concealed this knife under my frock skirt, and 
then I waited up on a dark landing at the top of the second story stairs 
tall I thought It would be about time for Mrs. Horning to go to bed Af» 
It happened, however, she was taken suddenly sick at least an hour be- 
fore her usual time for retiring; and Mr. Horning came out of the store 
and helped her up stairs to her room. r- 

ofl^^n '^.r'""'" """^ "'■'^"^"'' '* ^"^ in-PossibJe for me to get out ^ 
of the road, either up or down; and I could not hide myself. So whea 
they came up I had to face it out on them 

"What are you doing here, Bridget?" asked Mr. Horning, in a rough 
way, taking hold of me by the shoulder 

i was afraid somebody else would be down stairs and give aa alarm and 
the police would catch me; so I only said: 

caijl' a'T. " f ."•"? '"^^'""•'^^- Your wife told me to leave; and she 
1 i^ nTkin f " "^'"'7- ^'"t ' ^-^ «he can just thank her lucky stars 
l^t^lJ^:::^ ^- ^--o more ofasmt than she is- not a'bitl I 

her frock! ""' " ''"'' ' "'"^ °"' ^''- ^'"''''^' " '^''' ««' a knife under 



mm 



BBIDQKT DUBOAN'S LIFE AND CBIMKS. 25 

"Hftveyougotaknife?" asked Mr. Horning, stepping back a little 
from me. 

"Yes, I hare got a kniftl" said I, "and if you lay your finger on me 
1 11 have your heart's blood ! I don't want to hurt you; nor your nasty 
mean, old lying wife; but don't touch mo." 

By this time the sister came up stairs and helped Mrs. Homing while 
Mr. Horning turned on me and said : 

"Look here, Bridget, I've a great mind to take you right down to the 
station house, and have you put in prison. I could send you to Sing 
Sing for several years; but I do not wish to do so. I only want you to 
clear out of my house instantly, and never come near it again. If you do 
1 will have you taken just as sure as you are alive 1 " ■> ' 

"All right!" said I, "let me get my things, and I'll be agoing out of 
your old house in two minutes, I will ! " 

"Very well," says he, "but do it mighty quick!" 

So I went up stairs to my own room, and, getting mv bundle and my 
band box, I went down stairs and through the dining room, where I left 
the knife, for fear he would have me arrested, and I would be committed 
for having stolen it. 

I felt pretty hard against Mrs. Homing, and I made up my mind to kill 
her anyhow. But I knew there would be a watch kept up for a good 
long while; and so I avoided going near the house, or even into the proxl 
imity of the place, for sometime, in order that they might think that I had 
gone out of the city. 

Daring this period I could not get any place, or employment; and so I 
peddled apples round the streets, disguised as an old woman; so that I 
ooud get along, and make a living. When I thought I would not be sus- 
pected, I wenfdown in the direction of Homing's house several times 
but I never could see either Mrs. Horning or her sister Sarah 

Finding that I was not likely to do anything that wav, I bought a lit- 
tle pound cake, and putting a lot of arsenic into it, I sent it very nicelv 
done up m a wedding box, hoping that all the Homings would eat some 

_ The next day, after I sent it, I went down that way once more, hop- 
ing to see crape on the door. But, instead of that, I saw the cake tossed 
into the middle of the street. From this I judged that I was found out 
and I concluded that it would not do to try my game any longer. So go- 
ing down to the Terry I took the boat over to New York 

There were two men on the boat who looked very much like detectives 

and I noticed that they kept watching me rather closely. This made me 

teel a good deal nervous and unea.sy; and I was very glad when I saw 

hem walk away down a street in New York, in an opposite directioa to 

the one I tooL < 



2<J BttlDGKT DUEQAN'S UFK AND CRI3IE8. 

I made my way to one of my old friends, who lived in the rear of a 

tenement house in Baxter street. Sbo was verv glad to see me and I 
did some work for her, for which she let me stay" there hidden for three 
■weeks or so. 

One night a couple of her friends came to see her. They brought a 
bottle of whiskey with them, and we all drank cousideable. After a little 
while a dispute arose about something, and a fight took place, in which 
my friend— I do not mention her name, as it might do her some harm- 
took sides with the others against me. It ended in my being badly beat 
and kicked into the street I had no other place to go to, so I determined 
to leave the city. 



SHE GOES TO NEW JERSEY. 

Prom New York I made my way to Newark, where I stayed a little 
time at a Mr. Smith's house. But he had two sons, who made so much 
fun of me because they said I was so ugly, that I could not stay there 
and I left and walked all the way to Somerville, where I obtained some 
employment in a farmer's house. 

While there-I began to be tired of life. Everybody seemed to hate me 
and I hated everybody; and did not care what became of me 

One day, it was early in the morning, I got up, and, after making the 
fire, and puting on the kettle to make the coffee, I went out into a piece 
of woods through which flowed a large ditch. Taking off my frock I got 
spme big stones, tied them around my neck, and was just on the p^int of 
jumping mto the water and drowning myself, when something came over 
me and I stopped. Then, as I thought more over it, I concluded that it 
would be foohsh for me to commit suicide; and so I took the stones from 
around my neck, put on my frock again, and went back to the house 

It was not long before the temptation returned to me to make my way 
back to Lew York, and kill Mrs. Horning. This feeling became so very 
strong on me that I could not resist it. I felt that I would have to kiS 
somebody, and get hung for it. And now, here I am in this prison cell, 
and my foreboding has come true. Tomorrow I will be hung like an old 
cat, and nobody will say they are sorry for Bridget Durgan; but thev will 
ay it served me right. Well. I do not care, anyhow;it is my fate." Bu 

and^Tve j; "' /^ '"'""' *°""' '"''"''^- ' '^™ ''^ "^^"1 -"-'i 
lite, but I hope to be forgiven in the other world 

Jrirtjaf is ST/r ''"'■:' ^'" ' ""^ '^^'"^^^ S" *« '^^ other 
world. That is the hardest part of all. I would sooner suffer any tor- 



\ 



m^f^f^,' ' — ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ iiii II . I t^ngm 



BRIDGET DTJEQAN'S LIFE AND 0BIME8. W 

tare that could be inflicted on me, if I was only sure by doing so I would 
be spared seeing the spirit of the poor woman, who was so kind and 
gentle to me. 

In pursuit of the idea of killing Mrs. Horning, I got my wages from 
the farmer whom I lived with, and started baek for New York. But 
when I reached the first way station, I suddenly changed my mind, but 
I could not tell why, and I cannot even now account for it ; and resolved 
to go to Philadelphia.. There I went to an intelligence office s^imewhere 
in Eighth Street, I think it was, and obtained a situation immediately. 
But I was too restless to stay long. My evil genius again got posessioa 
of me, and I once more became imbued with the idea of going to New 
York and killing Mrs. Horning, This came to be so strong on me that 
I could not drive it off, and at last I set out again for the City of New 
York, to put mr design into effect. 

As I was going down to the boat to cross over to Camden, I stopped 
to look at a picture paper that was tacked up at a bookstand on Walnut 
Street warf. It had a picture in it of a woman who had another one 
down on the floor, and was stabbing her with a knife, That picture 
made a great impression on my mind ; and I bought the paper and read 
it all through. I thought it would be splendid to have my name in that 
paper and have a picture of me in it. 

Oh, Mr. Brendan, I think now as I am looking in the face of Death 
that those kinds of papers have a very bad effect on the community. 
People like me, who have not much education, think it is a great thing 
ttf be noticed in that way, and consequently there is more crime committed 
than there ^ould be if these papers were so stopped. 

I sat in the cars and calculated how long it would most likely be be- 
fore I killed Mrs. Horning, and would have a picture in the paper about 
it. But when I got to Elizabeth, I bought a newspaper from a boy, and 
the first thing I saw was the death of Mrs. Horning. 

Tba^udden disappointment give me such a shock that I fell down la 
the car in a fit. I was always subject to those fits from my childhood. 

I remained unconscious,! was afterwards told, for about twenty minutes 
and when reeorered I was lying on a settee in the station. 



2S BBIBOET DUBQAN's LIFK AND CKIMBa 

SHE GOES TO NEW MAEKET. 

From here, through the kindness of a gentleman, who happened to be 
travelling that way, I got to the town of New Market where it was not 
long before I obtained the situation at the house of Mrs. Coriel wife of 
Doctor Coriel. 

. When I first took this situation I never dreamed of such a thing as do- 
ing Mrs, Coriel, or any one belonging to her, any harm. In truth she 
was the Only lady who ever treated me so kindly, in all my wretched 
lifetime. And oh, now that I am to be ushered in the presence of my 
maker, to be confrunted with the spirit of the poor, dear lady, I feel the 
true horror of my position ; and see the true enormity of my crime. She 
was never an enemy of mine ; for the sharp words she sometimes spoke 
to me, were well deserved, as I used to be have very ugly to her. Iq. 
stead of dying my hands in her blood, I ought to have defended her 
against who would have done her any harm. But the frightful dead 
is past and the only atonement I can make is to give up my life on the 
scaffold. I wish I could suffer tenfold more, for I deserved to do so. 

I wish to say afew words in regard to the stories I have told at various 
times, since my imprisonment, abont the alleged intimacy between Mrs. 
Coriel s husband and myself 

Some short time after I first went to live at his house, I became very 
much attached to the Doctor, and began to love him with the greatest 
ferior. He was a gentleman with a very warm heart and exceedingly off, 
handed and good natured.He would speak in a quick and sometimes caret 
less way ; but he never ment anything by it. ^ 

And I desire here to say in the most solemn manner — for, now that I 
am really a dying woman, without the slightest hope of reprieve, much 
less pardon, further lying will do me no good— that there is not the 
slightest truth in any of the reports that got out about Doctor Coriel and 
myself, so far as he was concerned. He never offered me the slightest 
advance or insult of anykind whatever, though. In my wickedness I often 
wished that be would. 

I have done him harm enough now, without dying and allowing such 
calumnies as these against his character to go undenied. 

But I am getting weak, and must hasten to finish this confession, or I 
shall not get through it. 

There is no necessity to go over all that occurred during all the time 
I lived with Mrs. Coriel: but only immediately preceeding the murder 
for which I am to suffer so justly. 

About a month before the fated day, it came into my head that if Mrs 
Coriel were only out of the way, that I would have' a very good place 
with the Doctor, as he would no doubt still keep house and have me to 



gg**^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^"^— ■— Wi^MJU I^H 



-^T 



BBIDQET CttBQAN'S LIFE AND CHIMES. .^9 

take care of it and Mamey, who was fond of me. This brought Mrs. 
Horning into my mind, and instantly, like a flash of lightning, I felt im- 
pelled to kill Mrs. Coriel. 

"You must kill somebody 1" whispered the Devil in my ear. 

I tried rhy besi to get rid of this wicked impression and drive it off. 
But the harder I tried, the harder it got hold of me ; and on several 
occasions during the month of February I took a hatchet or knife, or a 
club upstairs with the express purpose of committing the murder. But 
every time a fear of discovery prevented me. And sometimes, when good 
opportunities occurred, the kindness of my poor mistress would rise up be- 
tween me and her, and defend her from me. At last, however the fatal 
day came. 

On the morning of Februa"^ 25th my mistress ordered me to scour off 
some knives. She did not wish the dirt in the house, so she told me to 
do the work in the back yard. 

"Why can't I do it in here?" said I, in a mad kind of voice, just for 
the sake of having a quarrel with her. 

" Because," replied she, "it will make too much dirt to do it in the 
house, Bridget." 

" Well," said I, " can't the dirt be cleaned out of the house after the 
knives are cleaned? And anyhow, it's too cold to work out there this 
morning.'^ 

"Why, Bridgetl" exclaimed Mrs. Coriel, "it was only the other day 
you washed out there, and would not come into the house when I told 
-you to do so, although it was much colder then than it is today." 

"Oh yea " said I "it's all very nice for you to order me out into the 
cold; but how would you like me to order you out into the cold if I was 
your mistress ? " 

"Well, Bridget, said she, "I would be very sorry to have a mistress 
like you" 

" I expect you would," said I "and I'm just as sorry to have one that 
is so much like you; for yon are always a tyranizing over me." 

I knew what a great lie that assertion was, for no woman could ever 
have been kinder than Mrs. Coriel was; but I said what I did, just for the 
sake of making her madder than she was already. 

" Now, Bridget, answered my mistress, " I have put up with yon just 
long enough. You have begged me so hard when you were sick, to be 
, allowed to remain, that I could not find it in my heart to turn you out of 
the house; although if I had not prevented him. Doctor Coriel would have 
kicked you out like a dog. Now you will just go and do what you were 
told to do, without any more talk about it. And the day after tomorrow 
yon must leave here, whether you are sick or well." 

"I don't know about that," replied I: "I'll ask the Doctor to let me 
*tay. He's got a warm side towards me." 



30 



BEIDGET DCRGAN's LIFE AND CRIMES. 






The Devil prompted me to say thia to Mrs. Coriel; -who flew into an 
awfal passion. 

"You vile hussej'I " she exclaimed, "how dare .you speak of ray hua' 
band in that manner! lie shall send you away from this house this very 
dayl Give Maraey to me this instant, and go right up stairs this instant 
and get your things ready!" 

1 had been nursing Mamey, the baby, and had her in my arms at that 
moment. Mrs. Coriel snatched her from me, and she began to cry to 
come I)ack to me. 

I took the knives, and started out of tlie kitchen, to go in^o the yard to 
clean them. AnJ as I went out at the door, I stopped a moment and 
said some words of endearment to the baby in a taunting wav so as to 
make Mrs. Coriol more angry. In this I was successful for she rushed 
forward, and slamming the door shut with all her might she caused it to 
strike nio violently on the forehead and make it bleed just a little. 

I put my hand to my head, and taking it down saw the blood on my 
fingers. The sight of the blood pnt the devil right away into my heart, 
and fiercely opening the door again, I put my finger up to my forehead 
and said : 

"Mrs. Coriel, do you see this blood ?" 

She looked at me and with a good deal of sorrow she said : 

"Well, Bridget, I am sure I did not intend to injure you. <i bog your 
pardon, but you did make me so angry. But come in the house and 
wash your forehead, and I'll run up and get you a strip of plaster." 

"No your needn't!" said I, savagely. "You brooght this blood, and 
, J y A you can take the consequences. When Doctor Coriel comes home I am 

/.; ^5 ^°'"^ '^ '^''"^^ '''™' ^""^ *^'^ ''^™ '^^^^ ^ '^''^'' ^^^ ^'** ^^'^ ?<'*' and then 

;- — <■ I'm a going right off and sue you! I'll show you, whether you'll treat 

/^ C I vae this way !" i-i*"- 

^ ^ And I slammed to the door again and went on with my work. 

'i .Jf The whole of that day I brooded over the affair, nor did I make any 
V V i^ attempt to heal my wound; but on the contrary cut it deeper with my 
rv? ^ finger nail to keep it bleeding. 

I took good care, however to keep out of Doctor Coriel's way, and 
r<- Mrs. Coriel did not say anything to him, I suppose because she had hurt 

me, and felt rather bad about it, though for that matter it was nothing 
more than a little Bcratcb. 

About dinner time Mrs. Coriel who had not been right hearty for over 
« week previous to that, was taken with a sick headache, brought on, I 
suppose by the excitement of the quarrel and she was obliged to go up 
stairs and lie down. 

After dinner, and when the Doctor had gone ont I went up stairs with 
a butcher knife resolved to cut Mrs. Coriel'a throat. But she had locked 



\ 




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v> 



Ni 



^0^ 












.-■ '<■!#^■. 






I 




• 



CORRECT LIKENESS OF MRS. CORIEL, 
As she was photographed the last time she went out walking. 



L 



BRIDGET DtJEGAN'g LIFE AND CElMES.' 



88- 



I 



hor door; and when I knocked, she said she did not wish anything- and 
^ told mc to go away. Being afraid that she might be suspecting what was 
intended, I knocked again, after a little while, and said: 

"Mrs. Coriel, I am very .sorry for what I said to you this morning. I 
am agoing away next Saturday night to Newark, and, as yon have al- 
ways treated me kindly and motherly, I don't want vou to have any bad 
feelings toward me. I ask yonr pardon for having behaved so to you 
this morning. Let mc do something for you; won't you, please? " 

While I was saying this, I was playing with the butcher knife, and 
laughing to myself the whole time. I knew this was the only way to 
get around my mistress, • ■ 

"Well, Bridget," said she, "go down and make me a good Strong cup 
of tea, and bring it up to me." 

"Yes, ma'am," answered I; and away I went down to the kitchen, de 
lighted at the success of my ruse. 

When the tea was ready, I took it up on a tray With a slice of toasted 
bread. Mamey cried to come to me; and, while my miatres.s was eating, 
I took the child up and nursed her. 

"This tea is very nice, Bridget." said my mistress.' 
"I'm glad that you like it, ma'am," was my reply," will you bare any ' 
more of it?" . •/ .; 

" No, Bridget, this is plenty, at least for the presetlt," 
"Shall I give the bed a shaking up for you?" asked L 
" Well, yes, but not now; after awhile, when I fee! a little better, you 
can do so. .. : 

"I'll just lay the baby down then, while I fix your pillows a little bit 
smoother." said I, going.Toyn j J:jj|tti e other side of the bed, so as to ge* ' 
behind her. '^B 

Putting the baby down, and tiffi^ the butcher knife out of my pocket, 
I was just on the point of running it into her back, when there came a 
loud knocking at the front door. ■ ■ 

Quickly putting the knife into my pocket again, I hurried down to an- 
swer the knock. Somebody wanted the Poctor in a groat hurry. He 
was out, and I did not know at what time he would be back, and thepei:- 
Eon who came for him, left a message for hinj to come as soon as he ar- 
rived at home. 

Several times during the afternoon I went upstairs to commit the mur- 
der; but every time I did so something occurred to prevent the dreadfiil 
deed. The determination was firmly fi.xod in my mind, however, to do it 
before the next morning, cost what it would. Should it become neces- 
sary, I resolved to kill the baby and the Doctor to. 



34 Bsioasi dubqam's liix and m^Ti^s f 



THE DREADFUL DEED. 



Night came at last, and the Doctor got home to hia supper; but had to 
go out immediately after he had finished it. The weather was cold and 
drizzly, the Doctor woald not return till late, and I felt that this would 
be the opportunity. 

After he left home the lamps were lit upstairs, the fire brisked up, and 
Mrs. Coriel went to lie down— she had been sitting up during the after- 
noon — while I took up some sewing. 

All was very quiet; the baby went to sleep, and after Mrs. Coriel had 
laid her in her crib, she herself laid down and went into a light slumber, 
from which she several times started, Once she cried out: 

"Don't, Bridget, do such a thing as that I" 

This startled me; but I saw she was only dreaming in her sleep per- 
haps about the quarrel we had had in the morning. 

Finally I concluded that the time had come for'the accomplishment of 
my wickdd purpose, and putting away my sewing, I got ready 

By this ti^me my mistress was fast asleep, and, in order not to awaken 
her I pulled off my shoes. I then got out my butcher knife, and exam- 
ined It well, to see that it would do its bloody work surely 

Then clenching it firmly in my right hand, and, gritti'ng my teeth to- 
gether, I stepped as lightly as a cat into the room where my intended 
rictim was y,ng on the lounge. My feelings at this juncture" were per- 
fectly terrible; it would be impossible to describe them at all 

I was afraid that Mrs. Coriel woul*wake up and see me, and my de- 
sire was to kill her instantly in her s^leep, before she could get her eyes 
open; for I had read in the paper of a murder in Italy, or somewhere else 
where the ikeness of the murderer was fixed upon the retina of the mar- 
dered man's eye. 

This was not so easy, for the door was so arranged, that, in going in ' 
I was obliged to face my intended victim. So, stepping as lightly as i 
could, and holding my butcher kinfe behind me all the time until got in 
to a good position I was now standing with my clothes almost toucb- 

:r::d?a- rh-eLre^ "" -' '^ '^ ^^^' ^^ -^ ^ -« «- 
My idea was to take good aim at her heart, give her a «tab and roll 
W on to the floor, with her face down, so tha't she could It ee m 
itZ 7^ 7T. ' "'■"'' "-' ^™ ^'''^ ^' ^y ^'^^y' ■•' felt ike as f 

:^t;i;^s:ri,:::Sis=t:^^° - ---- 



■^■)n-^nT^i,^<m 



BEIDQEI DTJROAN's LIFE AND CUIMES. 35 

However, I conld not wait to steady myself; and so I plunged the but- 
cher kaife into the body of Mrs, Coriel, taking as good an aim as possible 
at her heart! 

As the blade weot into the flesh of my victim, my previous sensation 
changed; and such a numbness came over me, that I could not for an in- 
stant draw the knife out. It wasjust like as though I had stuck it into 
a tough log, aad could not pull it. out. I folt Mrs. Coriel shiver like, and 
then she awoke, and I saw hor look at me. 

This made me fee! terribly desperate; and with a great effort, I jerked 
the knife out aud begun plunging it into her as hard and as fast as ever I 
could, without aiming at all; she struggling violently with mo and drag- 
iag me toward the door. 

She clutched me by the throat with one hand, and, seizing the knife 
in the other, she almost got it away from me. Then we rolled about the 
floor each of us trying to get the mastery, when, losing my knife, I endea- 
vored to kill her by biting her neck; as I used to do when killing a chick- 
en for cooking. 

This fearful struggle seemed to last an hour, though it was certainly 
not more than two minutes, and then she fainted from the loss' of blood: 
and I thought she was dead. I was now as mad as a wild bull, and my 
only thoughts were how to get the body out of the road. 

Suddenly the idea occurred to me to throw the lamp, that was three 
quarters full of coal oil, under the bed, then taking the baby in my armR, 
run down to Isaac Coriel's house, which was only a Irttle ways from ours. 
There I would tell them that two robbers had broken into the house, and 
after killing Mrs Coriel, had set fire to the house. 

No sooner had I conceived this project than it was put into execution. 
Snatching the lamp off the table, I hurled it under the bed with all my 
strength, and then pulling the bed clothes off the bed, I threw them in on 
the flame.';. 

Thcnjumping to the crib, I grabbed Mamey up in my arms, and ran 
out of the room down into the yard. I shut to all the doors after me, 
and also the gale. When I picked up the baby she was awake and cry- 
ing, having been roused no doubt by the noise of the fight between me 
and her mother. 

I recollect, that, as I went past the body, the child saw Mrs. Coriel 
and held out its hands to her; and it cried very hard when it found I did 
not stop. 

When I got out on the road I stood still a few moments, to tear my 
frock and pull down my hair, so as t$ give me a frightened, distressed 
appearance when I should arrive at Isaac Coriel's house. After this was 
done, I was just on the point of running up the road, when the thought 
eanie into my mind, that maybe, after all my stabbing, Mrs. Coriel was 



P9 



36 BEIDQET DURGAn's LIFE AND CRIMES. 

not completely dead. She might possibly be alive yet, and would testify 
against me. 

"I'll go back and see, anyhow," says I to myself. 

When I opened the door, I found that Mrs. Coriel had really recovered 
her consciousness, and had crawled to the door in pursuit of me. 

"Damn you! " exclaimed I "aint you dead, after all? I'm glad I como 
cack. Now just you crawl back into that room as fa^t as you can or I'll 
kill the baby to ! " 

Saying this, I snatched up the knife, which had been thrown down on 
the floor, and made believe I was going to cut Mamey's throat. Mrs. 
Coriel turned round and motioned that she would do as she was told I 
walked backward, still holding the knife ready, while every now and then 
I said: 

" Damn you ! why don't you hurry ? " 

I begun to be afraid that the fire 'would burn us all up together and • 
also that Doctor Coriel would be coming borne. So, rumiing in and put- 
ting the baby on the floor, I ran back again, and taking Mrs. Coriel by 4 
the bair and one arm, pulled lier into the room as fast as possible 1 

The moment the baby saw her mother, she seemed to know what was 
going to be done, for she began to cry again and tried to creep very fast 
toward Mrs. Coriel. 

At the same time I took up the log of a chair that had been broken 
during the previous struggle, and snapped off thc.runnel, which had re 
mamed attached to it. I intended to beat out her brains with this 

As she saw Mamey trying to come to her, she seemed to get strontr i 
and, just as I was about to finish her, she raised herself on her elbow and 

Uta?l' f 'f f ^°' '\']°''''^ Gf^-i ""d the Virgin 1 let me kiss my poor 
httle baby before you kill mc! Won't von, please?" 

"Well," said I, if you wont be long,' I'll let you. So go ahead now 
and be quick about it!" ^ «ueau now. 

By this time the baby had got pretty close, and, with a great effort 
her mother kissed her and tbon tnVd *^ „<>* i, t'lon, 

w=. ,.„ w..k fo, ILt ' '" "" '" °™ """I- ""' "«■ 

grabbca bold or b.r ..d p.ll.d b., „.y ,,„„ ,^. ^ " « ™^ 

.f.» », »d .L.. tt. ,.., .,d .b.„ ,„ ., rzy ;;r,r 00^;: 



"""^"■S^^^BViVmHi^HMHi 



BRIDGET DURGAN'S UFE AND CRIMES. 3'J 

roused, and, poking their heads out of the windows asked what in the * 

name of Heaven was the matter. 

" Oh!" said I, making my voice tremble and choke; "two big roWjers 
have broke into our house, and killed my mistress ! " 

In a few moments the Coriels were all out in the road, and Mr Coriel • 
who was the Doctor's brother, got a bell, and begun to ring it with all 
his might, and halloa with all his voice, in order to start out the whole 
Tillage. 

It did not require long to do this; for in about five minutes everybody 
in the village was out in the road asking what was the matter; while a 
good many started up the road on a full run to Doctor Coriel's house. 
Others began to spread themselves out over the country to make a hunt 
for the murderers, -whom I told them had run away. 

I did not try to get away, for fear that it would cause suspicion; but I 
continued to nurse the baby, and endeavor to pacify her. But, somehow 
or other, she seemeed to have become suddenly impressed with my true 
character. 

That completely threw me off my guard. It seemed to me as though 
tne spirit of poor Mrs. Coriel was hovering about in the air, and telling 
the baby all about me. 

"Ah, now, Mamey " cried I "don't push Biddy away ! Biddy did'nt 
kill your mama!" 

In this kind of way I tried to coaxlhe child; but the hardet I tried, the 
more she repelled me. 

By this tihae we were back again at the house where the dark deed 
had been committed. 

I saw them drag the body of Airs. Coriel from out of the room where I 

had killed her, and which was now pretty well aH blazing. Meanwhile 

one of the men, more inquisitive than the rest, began to examine the 

doors and the locks, and looking at me all the time in a verv queer wav. 

At last he said: i 

"Well, neighbors, you may think just what you choose; but I tell you 
there has been no robbers about this place, not a bit of it. I will tell you 
who has killed Mrs. Coriel; it's that Irish girl standing there!" 

" Do you know that's exactly what I am thinking myself, friend ! " ex- 
claimed another man. 
A third added: 

" There's no bolts broken, at any rate; and if robbers bad bursted in, as 
she says that they did, there would be some evidence of it." 

"Look ahere, woman," said a rougli man, taking me l)y the arm, "you 
are the damned, infernal wretch who done this deed ! Mrs. Coriel,s nock 
is bit through on one side. Xo man would do that; especially where two 
men would be together And another thing, that bite looks like as if it 
would fit that ugly mouth of yours. I'm going to take the risk of arre.st- 



38 BRIDGET DUROAN's UFK AMD CRIMES. 

ingyou for the murder, anyhow; and if you're innocent you can prove it; 
and if you're guilty, that.ll be proved too. But I'll bet a hundred dollarg 
you are guilty ! " 

" Yes ! yes ! take her I " called out several of the crowd, " take her I she 
knows something of the murder!" 

I was thereupon immediately arrested and kept secure till the sheriS 
came and took me to the jail here at New Brunswick. 

At one time the crowd wanted to hang me on the spot; but they were 
prevented from doing so by the officers who had me in charge. 

I had very strange feelings when I found my.self placed in the cell all 
alone. Then for the first time I began to realize what I had done; and 
what a miserable, wicked wretch I was. 

The ghost of my poor murdered mistress has never left me since I kill- 
ed her. There it stands looking so sorrowful at me all the time; and never 
going away for an instant. I see it when I am awake and asleep, all the 
same, whether my eys are open or shut. Ohl this is worse torture than 
being hung a dozen times over. 

Sometimes it makes me almost wild; and I cry out and scream; and 
tbe prison keepers and everybody else think I am crazy. 

But it will all be over tomorrow! Yes! it will all be over on this 
earth; but in the ne.xt world what will become of me? My spiritual ad- 
visers tell me to pray and I will be forgiven. But I don't know; I fear I 
will not be forgiven. I am afraid that praying will do me no good; and 
that ray day of redemption is past. 

Oh, horrible I the ghost is standing right here by me now! It comes 
closer and closer to me the nearer the hour of my execution draws on 

I cannot write much more, and I will therefore close by sayin" that I 
alone am the guilty one. " 

^'o person whatever assisted me to murder Mrs. Coriel. I did not kill her 
fef the purpose of robbing the place, as I have seen it stated. My true 
and only object in committing the murder was this. 

I thought that if I killed Mrs. Coriel, Doctor Coriel would have me to 
keep b,s house; and I even had the ides, that at some time I would be- 
come his wife. 

The reason I thought so was because he was ahvavs so kind hearted 

to me especmlly if I were sick. And that was so different from anybody 

else that I was sure he was in love with mc. And here, before his ««;- 

ered w.fe, I say that all that I said of his character was false! I hope 

he w-.ll try to forgive me for the injury I have done him ' 

I have now tola the whole truth; and oh! I most humbly ask for<rive- 
«.BS of every one, and I hope good people will pray for my guilty souU 

BRIDGET DURGAN. 




Taking the baby in Ler arras, the fiendish woman left the house of 
Ucr poor victim, and started for the house of Isaac Coriell 



i<i.d^^^^aBiH* 



i 




THE ONLY CORRECT LIKENESS OF BRIDGET DURGAN: 

The fiendish murderess of Mrs. Coriel. From a photograph 
Taken previous to her execution. 



CV 



I 



tmm 



A 



^^ 



BRIDGET DUBOAN'S LIPK AND CEIMES. 43 



BRIDGET'S IMPRISONMENT. 

There have been numbers of various accounts given in the papers of the 
conduct of Bridget Durgan during the time of her imprisonment previous 
to her execution. From among these it was almost impossible to obtain 
an authentic and reliable narrative as each of them purported to be the 
only verritable one. But from ail the sources at command we publish the 
following, which we believe to be entirely correct; as it comports in 
every essential particular with her own narrative and confession. 

During the first few days of her prison life she e.xhibited exactly the 
same trafts that a wild beast would have done. Her eyes glared wildly; 
she would clutch her hands in the air, tug furiously at her straggling 
hair, rush from one side of the cell to the other, throw herself on her 
straw bed and bite it with her teeth. 

The last act was a favorite one of hers and it proved very conclusively 
her guilt at least circumstantially; for the neck of her victim was bitten 
nearly through on one side. 

But the dreary solitude of the narrow room with its barred window 
and strong, impassible door, and the stolid, stern face of the keeper, who 
alone gave her her food, reduced her to tameness. Yet even then the 
brutal part of her harsh nature was still predominant. She would crouch 
down, half sitting and half lying on her bed and leer up whenever the 
door was opened. 

Her case being a peculiarly atrocious one she had not been in prison 
many days before she was almost besieged by philanthropically dis- 
posed ladies and gentlemen some of whom would even bring children 
with them. Of course as Christians we could never object to religions 
and well disposed people visiting the miserable inmates of a prison and en- 
deavoring to mitigate the horrors of confinement; but we do think that 
latterly there has come to be too much of maudlin sympathy, as well as 
excitement in regard to these matters. 

The more desperate and wicked the criminal is and the more deplorably 
wicked is his or her offense, the greater number of those well disposed 
but unthinking people flock to the cell to offer consolation and direct the 
mind to Heaven.' And the natural goodness of their hearts causing 
them to pity the culprit, they generally take with them little presents of 
sweetmeats or segars ©r tobacco, as prison fare is so hard. 

Such a mistaken course is in reality most injurious upon society. For 
there is always a class too ignorant and vicious to rise to distinction by 
good or great deeds; and yet being ambitious, they turn to crime to 
thereby become notorious. We recollect ourselves a case of a young girl, 
handsome, of respectable parentage, and with a fine intellect, who deliber- 



44 BRIDGES DUUOAN'S Lir£ ANB CRIMSS. 

ately sought the acquaintance of a libertine in order that she might be se- 
duced, and thereby get her najne up in the criminal paper. And while 
her parents and friends wore Ijewaiiing the disgrace and ruin brought 
upon her and her family she eagerly bought the paper containing the ac- 
count of her sin, and the likeness of herself and the villain, she actually 
gloried in showing the paper fo parties who came to the house. 

So with Bridget Durgan. When she found what an excitement her 
hideous crime had caused and began to be visited by the philanthropists 
we have mentioued, instead of her thoughts being diverted from the 
things of earth and directed to the awful future into which she was so soon 
to be ushered, they were intensely fastened on earthly matters. How- 
she looked when the visitors came was a matter of much moment to her 
and what people said outside, whether they abused her much or little, 
what they thought &c. was also of the deepest interest to her. 

The manifestations' of this morbid desire on her part at last became so 
offensive as to positively disgust all the officers about the -prison and in 
fact everybody else. 

During the time Bridget's trial was going on she manifested the stran- 
gest indifference and seemed only to delight in narrating to visitors strings 
of lies and quasi confessions. Oftentimes after they had left her cell, she 
■would throw herself on the bed and roar with semi-hysterical laughter. 

"jSTow jest to thonk!" she would exclaim to herself, "how b'autifallv 
I fooled 'cm, sitting, there wid their mouths wide open loike barrn door's 
jest ! But whisth ef I tell 'em me confisshun, an' tell ivery one different, 
they'll all thenk they 've got the right one; an' they'll all spake a good 
wnrd tell th' Gov'ner an' git me pardoned jest. They says Jarsev folks 
is too hard on poor criminals jest. An' faitli I b'lavo 'em I do. " They 
tell me I must have been crazy to do sich a -wickedness as kiliin' of Mrs. 
Coriel, an ef thot was properly put at th' Gov'ner he'd not hang me; an' 
thot afther awhoile whin the noise had doled out a lettle I 'd git pardon- 
ed intirely and live a betther loife. 

"Hal gorral gorral thot'sit! I'm crazy and it aint hanging I want; 

but to be pardoned and live a botthor loife! Yis ! it's a betther loife I 

want tell live! I don't want hangin' I An' it's crazy I am 1 ha I gorra I 
gorra! " 

Then she would feign madness and leap about and yell and scream till 
she was hoarse. 

When night came then the terrors of her true position seemed to seize 
her with crushing effect. At these times she was exactly the reverse of 
violent Instead of screaming and shouting as in the daytime, she would 
slink down m the corner trembling, and her teeth gnashing and grinding 
together. ° o e, o 



HH 



BRIDQEI DCRGAN's LIF£ AND CfiIM£a 45 



THE EXECUTION. 

Most bcautifally did the sun rise on Friday morning, August 30. 1867 
!ind then it was that tlio miserable culprit recognized the full horror of 
her position. 

She had slept very soundly and awoke about a quarter past five o'clock, 
apparently much refreshed. When asked what she would like for break- 
fast «he answered that it did not make much difference, so long as it was 
good and plenty of it for she had a long journey before her. When the 
breakfast wa.s brought to her she eat it with the greatest relish and en- 
joyment, ju.st as though it was not the last meal she was ever to eat. 

Immediately after she had finished her repast she was asked whether 
her spirituaLadvisers should now come in. She replied in the affirmative, 
and accordingly Kev. Fathers Dugaa and Hogers entered her cell, and 
at once commenced their ministrations to the miserable woman. They 
were incessant in their efforts to turn her wandering thought into the 
proper channel. But it seemed as though she were afraid to trust her 
mind to think. Once, when she did so, she nearly broke down entirely; 
and it was feared that she would have to be borne to the scaffold. But 
the physician in attendance ordered the druggist to administer strong sti- jj 1 

mulants to her which had the desired effect. She spoke several times 
^bout the negro Rogers who had been executed so short a time previous- 
iV in the self-same scaffold on which she was so soon to expiate her 
frightful crime. 

She also sent for the woman Mary Gilroy, who, it will be recollected 
was at one time thought to be an accessory to the murder of Mrs. Coriel; 
but who was fully exhonoratcd. 

Bridget bade her live a good life and warned her that if she dicl not she 
would most likely meet with the same fate as that she herself was about 
to suffer. 

Shortly after this the Sheriff entered the cell and announced that ho 
was ready to perform his terrible duty. Bridget replied that she wai5 
prepared. 

A Deputy then advanced with a strong thin rope and going behind the 
culprit, drew her elbows back and pinioned them tightly. This being 
done, the dismal procession began its slow march out of the cell into the 
vard, at the further extremity of which the gallows had been erected. 

She was supported on either side by the ministers of God while Mr. 
Brendan held to her lips the crucifix that she kissed very fervently at 
short intervals. Now and then the condemned woman glanced furtively 
around her at the few patches of grass, and straggling bushes that were 



■^S BRIDGET DURGAN'S LIFE AND CRIMES. 

growing in the Courtyard of the prison, and from these her eyes would 
tarn up to the deep blue sky abpve her which she was to look at no more 
in this life. 

Arriving at the foot of the gallows, Bridget's attention was called from 
the ghostly looking timbers and the dangling noose, for fear the sight 
might bring on an attack of epilepsy, and lead to the fearful necessity of 
hanging the miserable wretch while she was insensible. 

Never for a moment did her comforters cease their exhortations to her; 
and it was doubtless this that enabled her to bear up under the dreadful 
ordeal she was passing. 

There was an immense number of persons who render the plea of being 
deputies to the sheriff, had gained across to the yard and who had been 
crowding the yard from early in the morning Among these morbidly 
curious people there was considerable disorder and confusion; jokes were 
bandied; and shouts and jeers exchanged until the opening of the great 
iron plated doors disclosed the solemn procession the principal attraction 
of which was Bridget Durgan, the condemned criminal. 

Instantly all became silent as the grave except the voices of the clergy- «r 

men who were attending the prisoner, rendering the scene one of the ut- ] 

most solemnity. ! 

The Sheriff; fearful of the effect of any delay on the condemned, pro- ■ 

ceeded as bri.skly as possible with his duty, and the foot of the gallows ; 

was soon reached. The preparations here were speedily completed. ' 

The culprit listened with great earnestness to the clergyman who was 
reading the service for the dead according to the ritual of the Roman 
Catholic Chnreh, and also to the words of hope and consolation that the 
others were whispering in her ears. 

All being in readiness the Sheriff stepped forward, and examined 
everything to see that there would be no mistake or balk. Then with as 
much delicacy as possible he adjusted the fatal noose. 

" God help me, now," were the last words she uttered as the black 
cap was drawn down over her face. 

She was giving way very rapidly; and therefore the moment the cap 
was placed, the Sheriff sprang to the trap box, seized the axe, cut the 
check rope at a single blow, and Bridget Durgan was plunged into 
Eternity. 

After dangling in the bright sunlight for half an hour the attending 
physicians pronounced the culprit dead. The law had been vindicated and 
when the body was lowered down, and placed in the coffin it was given 
over into the charge of the clergymen, who, conveyed it at once to the 
Catholic Cemetery, and laid it away to moulder until the last Trump 
should summon both Bridget and her unfortunate Mistress and victim to 
appear before the bar of God. 

THK SSJt. 



BBn>OET DUaOAN'B LIVE AND CRIMKE 



BRIDGET DFRGAN AND ANTOINE PROBST. 



Among numbers of rumors that have been circulated about Bridget 
Durgan tiic miserable subject of the preceeding pages, was one to tlie 
effect that she was at one time the reputed wife of Antoino Probst, who 
it will be remembered, was the perpetrator of the atrocious Dearing mur- 
der. 

About the truth or falsity of this assertion, wo hare been unable to as- 
certain anything positively, and it would, therefore, be unfair, even to 
such a wretch as Bridget Durgan, to record such a thing against her as 
being true. 

Her name, and her grave are already sufficiently diahonorcd by her own 
wicked deeds, without adding more infamy to the load already on tbcm. 
But one thing is certain, and that is, that, so far as inclination, tempera 
ment, and disposition were concerned, there never were two human be- 
ings more alike than Antoinc Probst and Bridget Durgan. Both wero 
possessed of the most depraved animal instincts, the most violent passioa 
and the greatest blood thirstiness. A gentleman, accustomed all his life 
to criminals, said of Bridget: 

"She is the most perfect combination of the wolf, the tiger, the bog 
and the hyena, that I ever came across." 

The whole period during which Bridget was in prison, her constant 
anxiety was as to the amount of excitement she was producing. And so 
she continued till an hour or two before her execution; when she gave up 
all things and thoughts, except of death. 

Her history will doubtless make wives very cautious about what kind 
of women they have in their boasebolds as domestics. 



^^1^^^ 




THE FINAL ACT OF JUSTICE. 

Execution of Bridget Durban,, at New Bruas wick, New Jerscj. 



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Taking the baby in her arms, the fiendish woman left the b.ous« «;J 
tier poor victiro, njul started 6.'i: the bjQUs« of Isaa/; Corisll 




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